Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I do simple. I don't do boring.

I said the above in a recent email and the person who received it said I should definitely blog about it. Since some of what I did today really exemplifies that difference for me, here goes.

I said it in reference to sewing a dress from a huge, loud madras plaid - purple, pink, greeny yellow, white, teal, and a teensy bit of black, all together. And I can make a long dress from about 3 yards of it. I know because I have. And now I'm working on a second one for someone else. They are not boring dresses - they are bright with the colors of the flowers, and they are not stuck in the question of what's fashionable - I'm using the methods of cutting used in the middle ages to ensure that not much cloth was wasted. After all, to get that cloth, you had to do every bit of the labor by hand - shearing, washing, dyeing, combing or carding, spinning, weaving, cutting, sewing. A couple extra seams takes a lot less time than the rest of the steps that went before, so garments were meant to use the fabric very efficiently. Cloth-wasting cuts are the product of mechanizing cloth production.

My clothes are plainly cut but they're full of color - blue, green, plaid, and pink - bright pink at that. And I smile, a lot. I've been depressed. I've been so far down in that pit I thought I'd never see the light of day again, and now I'm in the blessed sunlight and I want to stay here. And that means joy - it doesn't mean allowing myself to slip into the blahs again when something so simple as color gives me so much joy. It means noticing when the honeysuckle begins to bloom. I spent a week last month surrounded by the smell of honeysuckle. I even gave myself my yearly treat of two drops of honeysuckle honey from the woods near my apartment.

It meant that yesterday, I attended the Adelphi Friends Meeting annual strawberry festival and bought a flat of strawberries to eat fresh and to put up. Today there's a pot of strawberries and sugar bubbling away on my stove, and for the rest of the year, I will be able to taste the joy of real strawberries. And tonight, when we send out for Chinese food (Dear reader, don't you think cooking down a whole flat of strawberries is enough cooking for anyone in a day?) there will be a dessert of strawberries.

My only disappointment at the strawberry festival was that I was one person too late to get mac and cheese and had to settle for veggie dogs for lunch (I'd pout, but instead I've set tomorrow's dinner to be mac and cheese.) And I had enough energy to make it to the folk festival for a brief time - I got to listen to the music, admire the handicrafts, and talk to the woman who runs a glass studio. Oh, so cool.

(I had a brief run-in with a woman who was rather rude about the county that I live in, but brushed it off, and headed for dinner.) In short, I remind myself that being happy is part of the shape of my life, too, and I need to take care of that.


Blogger Plain Foolish said...

And of course there's the joy of eating with chopsticks. And the joy of veggie rolls, and dumplings. And a call to Oma, who tells me she loves me and was made so happy by the cards I made for her. And giving my husband a scalp rub. And simply the joy of looking at all those preserved strawberries - distilled sunshine my husband called them.

And the bluebird of happiness on the lampshade over the computer (okay, so it's a little kitchy, but I like it, and it sort of matches the Mexican tourist painting that we inherited from my husband's grandmother, and put over the couch because we could.)

6/04/2006 8:09 PM  
Blogger Lorcan said...

Thee might smile to know that George Fox's wife Margarette Fell was very fond of bright red dresses!

One of my favorite plain and colorful stories was ... in Philly, in the last decades when most Quakers dressed formally plain, plain dresses were usually silk, gray and black or mutted steel blue, and rather expensive often, in urban meetings. Well, a young farm couple comes to meeting, she wearing a bright fire engine red dress. They sit down in front of an imposing Quaker dowager in her finest somber plain, who proceeds to look daggers at the back of this poor girl's head all through meeting, composing some cutting remark for the rise of meeting.
Those on the elder's bench shake hands at last, the the young wife in the red dress turns to shake the hand of the dowager behind her, and suddenly looks shocked and says, "Friend! Has thee given concideration to the cost of thy raiment?!?!?!"



6/05/2006 2:51 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Oh, that's classic! I can just see it, too.

(and pictures of cute possums, and other fun things. And I saw the cutest small child at the folk festival, showing that she could balance by walking along the benches, stopping every now and then to dance to the music. Now that is being present to the moment!)

6/05/2006 5:23 AM  
Blogger ef (Pam) said...

I love that story, of course I'm unfortunately inclined to think that it's funny because I, like the farmgirl, am "right" (bright, joyful colors are fine, but expense and resource use is open to question) rather than "judge not, lest ye be judged" - which is probably a much better message.



6/05/2006 2:16 PM  
Blogger Little Black Car said...

I'm wearing my black-and-red striped knee-high Wicked Witch of the West socks today. They keep my legs warm in the brutal office air-conditioning but take the stuffiness out of my dark work clothes. Whee!

6/09/2006 9:34 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home